In their introduction to this lyrical, pensive, and deeply spiritual anthology, Annick Smith and Susan O'Connor write: "It seems we humans, like whales and monarch butterflies, are programmed to return to, or to seek, places of refuge, nurture, and deep connection. "
We often associate hearth with fire and cooking in the home but over time the term has expanded to include public squares, markets, and religious spaces. In this top-drawer collection of essays, poems, and stories, Terry Tempest Williams, Pico Iyer, Barry Lopez, Gretel Ehrlich, Bill McKibben, and other distinguished writers from around the world examine the significance of hearth in these times of large-scale movements of refugees, environmental disasters, and the prevalence of community-destroying technology. From multiple perspectives and cultures, they ponder how ideas about hearth are evolving in a globalized world.
Here is a small sampler of the wisdom, creativity, and beauty found in this anthology:
"Each true hearth, it seems to me, produces people who live in opposition to those who have lost a sense of empathy with others, those for who whom the sacred is a nuisance, and impediment to cultural progress, those who value personal success over human companionship."
— Barry Lopez
"Why should love stop at the border?"
— Pablo Casals
"And thus, my fourth lesson in home: I am and will be Other. Until I write you into my heart and make you see my home as what it is. Just another extension of your own home. For there is no them; there is only us."
— Luis Alberto Urrea
"Edward Said, the cultural critic, once suggested that if one wishes to transcend his provincial and national limits, one should not reject attachments to the past but work through them. Irretrievable, the past must be mourned and remembered, and assimilated."
— Andrew Lam
"Please note: I understand that some answers for some questions can be spelled out only in tears."
— Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
"Home is anywhere I've taken the time to notice Where there is no 'I'… Intimacy requires time. Time requires devotion. Devotion demands surrender. Surrender means sponging in the whole: season, light, smell, moving shadow, every dark place, every one that is bright."
— Gretel Ehrlich